It has now been six months since the first round of stimulus payments were first distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but now, with no stimulus bill set to pass before Election Day, the American people will have to wait weeks longer before another check comes their way. According to the most recent estimates, which take into account the current status of a bill on Capitol Hill, the potential second stimulus check may not begin being distributed until December.
This additional delay is in large part due to the recent adjournment of the Senate. On Monday, following Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation vote, the Senate adjourned. The chamber is not set to reconvene until Monday, Nov. 9, meaning that new legislation will not be brought to the Senate floor for a vote until on or after that date. Regardless, President Donald Trump on Tuesday, when speaking to reporters at the White House, indicated that a bill, which is currently being negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would not happen until "after the election."
Once a bill is agreed upon and written, it will then have to begin the process of being passed. This process includes votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. After being approved in both chambers of Congress, the bill, which would likely include a second round of stimulus checks, will go to the president's desk for his signature. After that, Mnuchin has indicated that it will take approximately a week to process the first payments, allowing for estimated timelines for when Americans could expect to receive their second check.
According to a timetable provided by CNET, given the current stats of a bill on Capitol Hill, the soonest that stimulus payments could start to be distributed via direct deposit would be the week beginning Dec. 14. This is assuming a bill is approved by the House on Nov. 23 and the Senate on Nov. 24, with the president signing it on Nov. 25. A second scenario would see checks being distributed by direct deposit beginning the week of Dec. 21 if a bill is passed in both chambers of Congress and receives the president's approval by Dec. 2. However, if a bill is not approved until after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, payments would not be distributed until the week beginning on Feb. 8, with a bill being passed in the House on Feb. 1 followed by the Senate just a day later and Trump's signature on Feb. 3.
In any scenario, stimulus checks will first be distributed via direct deposit. About a week after those payments are distributed, the IRS will start the process of mailing physical paper checks, with EIP cards likely not to be distributed until several weeks later.